A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Three People Accused Of Stealing From Nonprofit Senior Lunch Program
Directors Of Queens Nonprofit And Caterer Stole At Least $50K In Overbilling And Kickback Scheme
Schneiderman: My Office Will Prosecute Those Who Defraud Vital NY Programs To The Fullest Extent Of The Law
NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman joined New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn today in announcing the arrest of three individuals accused of stealing more than $50,000 from a lunch program for senior citizens run by the nonprofit United Hindu Cultural Council of USA North America Inc. (UHCC).
The 14 counts included in a felony indictment accuse two former UHCC executive directors of stealing over $50,000 from programs for New York seniors by receiving kickbacks from another defendant, the owner of a Roti shop in Queens.
“By stealing from the senior center lunch program, the defendants put personal greed ahead of the basic needs of New York seniors,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “When it comes to services vital for our seniors, we cannot accept fraud as a cost of doing business. My office will prosecute fraud in critical New York programs to the fullest extent of the law.”
DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said, "Through fake invoices and phantom clients, these defendants systematically chiseled the City's taxpayers and shortchanged the seniors they were supposed to serve, according to the indictment. Their charged phony billing scheme was undone by meticulous fiscal analysis and old-fashioned surveillance. DOI was pleased to work with the New York State Attorney General's Office to hold these fraudsters accountable."
The indictment that was unsealed today accuses two former UHCC executive directors—Chan Jamoona, 66, of Queens and her daughter, Veda Jamoona, 28, of Manhattan and Queens—of perpetrating a long-running scheme in which the senior center operator inflated bills submitted to New York City’s Department for the Aging (DFTA). To carry out the scheme, the indictment alleges that the defendants directed UHCC workers to falsify invoices from the senior center’s caterer, Sonny's Roti Shop in Queens, and provide fake signatures on sign-in sheets.
The indictment also outlines a kickback arrangement in which the owner of Sonny's Roti Shop, Steven Rajkumar, 57, of Queens, received payments for the inflated invoices and then kicked a portion of those payments back to Chan Jamoona. Between 2007 and 2010, the defendants misrepresented the number of seniors served and overbilled the DFTA-administered senior center lunch program by at least $50,000.
The defendants are charged with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree and Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. Chan Jamoona faces an additional eight counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree and four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Veda Jamoona faces an additional count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Steven Rajkumar faces an additional three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. If convicted, the maximum sentence for Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, the top count, is 5 to 15 years imprisonment.
Defendants Chan Jamoona, Veda Jamoona and Steven Rajkumar were arraigned today in New York State Supreme Court in Queens County as investigators this morning executed a search warrant at UHCC for documents and computers that are evidence of the scheme.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jihee G. Suh, under the supervision of Public Integrity Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Chief William E. Schaeffer and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The joint investigation between the Attorney General's Office and DOI began after referrals from DFTA and the New York State Office for the Aging.
Attorney General Schneiderman and DOI Commissioner Gill Hearn thanked DFTA and the New York State Office for the Aging for their assistance provided during the investigation. They also recognize the diligent work of OAG staff, including Legal Support Analyst Kerry Ann Rodriguez; and, from the Investigations Bureau, Investigator Gerard Matheson and Investigative Analyst Brian Selfon under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Michael Ward, Deputy Chief John McManus and Chief Dominick Zarrella; and DOI staff, including Inspector General Chanterelle Sung, Director Ivette Morales and Investigator Nicole Clyne.
The charges are accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Anyone with additional information on this matter or any other public corruption is encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-996-4630.